Sep 24, 2015

Prosecutors drop charge against Cody woman in designer drug manufacturing case

Prosecutors have dropped their case against a Cody woman who’d been accused of helping her husband distribute designer drugs in 2012. The decision came after Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Robert Skar ruled that most of the evidence against Sara L. Meng, 27, was improperly obtained and inadmissible in court.

In late August, the Park County Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss a felony charge alleging a role in the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance.

One of Meng’s defense attorneys, Michael Messenger of Messenger & Overfield in Thermopolis, said they were “pleased that the state recognized that it was time to resolve the charge against Mrs. Meng.”

Messenger noted that Meng had been out on bond for nearly three-and-a-half years, “much the same as if she had been on probation, leading a worthy, productive and law-abiding life.”

Messenger said “she was primarily ignorant of the activities of her husband, who had previously plead guilty and stated that she had no knowledge (of) the matters for which she was charged.”

“She was primarily ignorant of the activities of her husband, who had previously plead guilty and stated that she had no knowledge (of) the matters for which she was charged,” said Michael Messenger, an attorney for Sara Meng.

Her husband, 29-year-old Nicholas A. Meng, had manufactured and distributed illicit party drugs and recruited high schoolers to help him.

Nick Meng admitted his guilt in late 2013 and received a six- to 10-year prison sentence on five felony drug charges. His sentence is not affected by Judge Skar’s ruling.

Nick and Sara Meng

Police in Utah caught on to Nick Meng’s scheme in early 2012, when he agreed to sell $4,500 worth of the party drugs ecstasy and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) to a buyer in the Salt Lake City area.

That would-be buyer was actually working with the Utah County Narcotics Task Force, and when Nick and Sara Meng arrived in Utah on Feb. 2, 2012, police arrested them. In the Mengs’ vehicle, authorities found roughly 1,000 pills of supposed ecstasy (they turned out to be caffeine pills) and a gallon of GHB.

“Sara Meng admitted to investigators that she knew the gallon of clear liquid in the back of the truck was GHB. Sara Meng also advised that she and Nicholas were going to the Salt Lake area to sell the pills and the GHB for a few thousand dollars,” Cody Police Detective Sgt. Jon Beck would later write in a court filing.

Beck got a warrant to search the Mengs' 22nd Street home from Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters and at the home, Cody police found needles, syringes, vials, a chemistry set, a pill press, annotated drug recipes, records of money transfers, roughly 90 grams of illegal or prescription-only steroids and 4.5 grams of GHB in powdered form. Beck later intercepted 500 grams of methylone (a drug similar to ecstasy) that had been shipped to Nick Meng from China.

Cody police also interviewed five young people they knew to have associated with the Mengs.

“Information obtained from the interviews indicated that (Sara) Meng had knowledge of the transactions and was present when (Nick) Meng was making deals over the phone and would get the methylone out and weigh the substance, getting specific quantities for customers,” Beck alleged in one filing.

“Information obtained from the interviews indicated that (Sara) Meng had knowledge of the transactions and was present when (Nick) Meng was making deals over the phone and would get the methylone out and weigh the substance, getting specific quantities for customers,” Cody Police Detective Sgt. Jon Beck wrote in one application for a search warrant.

Nick Meng reached a deal with prosecutors and wound up going to prison in December 2013, but Sara Meng pleaded not guilty and her case dragged on.

In late February — more than three years after the Mengs’ arrests — Sara Meng’s lawyers asked Judge Skar to suppress the evidence that was seized in the initial search of the Mengs’ home.

Defense attorneys Brandon Vilos and Messenger conceded that Beck’s application for a search warrant indicated that Nick Meng was selling illegal drugs. However, they argued Beck failed to offer any evidence connecting the crime to the Mengs’ home.

“The affiant (Beck) never suggests any reason why the premises would likely have the paraphernalia or illegal drugs that are described in ... the affidavit,” Vilos and Messenger wrote. “There is not even a conclusory statement suggesting that by virtue of the affiant’s experience and training, he believes the fruits of the crime will be found in the home.”
At a May hearing, Judge Skar suppressed the evidence seized at the Mengs' home in 2012.

Over the objections of Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Sam Krone, Judge Skar agreed with the defense, effectively ruling that Judge Waters should not have approved the warrant.

“There is no nexus in the affidavit supporting the search warrant which connects the criminal activity alleged against the defendant to the residence to be searched,” Skar wrote in June.

“Personal (drug) use by Nicholas Meng was not a sufficient nexus; otherwise, the court would have to speculate and then must ask whether neighbors’ and relatives’ houses should be searched as well.”

Skar later suppressed additional evidence (including phone and computer records) that was obtained from additional searches that came about only because of the first, improper search.

Krone said that left little of the case — namely some statements gathered in interviews — still standing.

“We didn’t have enough to prosecute the case after the court suppressed the results of the warrants,” he said.

Krone added that Nick Meng “was always the main focus” of the investigation and “I’m really happy that we were able to acquire the conviction and get a sentence on him.”


“We didn’t have enough to prosecute the case after the court suppressed the results of the warrants,” said Sam Krone, a deputy Park County prosecutor.

Sara Meng did receive a misdemeanor conviction in Summit County, Utah, for her role in the failed delivery of the bogus ecstasy and GHB.

In addition to a brief stay in jail, she received a year-long sentence of unsupervised probation for attempted possession of a controlled substance or a counterfeit of a controlled substance. About a year of jail time and a $2,500 fine were suspended and dismissed when she successfully completed the probation, court records show.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright © Cody News Company | Powered by Blogger

Design by Anders Noren | Blogger Theme by NewBloggerThemes.com